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Koh Butang Group

Koh Rawi, looking southeast towards Koh Barat
Anchorage ‘F’ Koh Rawi, looking southeast towards Koh Barat | Photo by Grenville Fordham

The Butangs is a group of islands approximately 27 miles to the northwest of Langkawi and 95 miles southeast of Phuket in the Andaman Sea.

There are 15 or so granite islands including Koh Lipe, Koh Adang, Koh Rawi, Koh Butang, Koh Sawang, Koh Kata, Koh Bulu and Koh Bitsi. They are cloaked with lush rainforest and fringed with coral reef and white sand beaches. The islands provide exceptionally good snorkelling and diving on well-preserved coral. They are within the Tarutao National Marine Park, which consists of a total of 51 islands.

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Butang Island Group chart
  • A

KOH ADANG WEST

56 miles from Koh Lanta Lighthouse

KOH ADANG WEST. 6°32.600N, 99°16.550E

There are now upwards of 15 national park moorings all along the west coast of Koh Adang. All are laid in outside the reefs in deeper than 12 metres areas. Anchoring is also allowable in 10 metres on the sandy shelf off the small village toward the southern end of the island.

In strong northeast winds this coast is the best anchorage in the entire Butang Group. The numerous beaches and reefs here mean it’s still possible to find a quiet spot away from the many longtails and speedboats. A warning for social media addicts; no cell coverage on this coast.

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  • B

KOH LIPE SOUTH

62 miles from Koh Lanta Lighthouse

KOH LIPE SOUTH. 6°29.060N, 99°18.126E

Anchor in 20-25metres (certainly no less than 15) off the fast-rising fringe reef on a sandy bottom. Pattaya Beach ashore has a number of resort and bungalow developments.

The best beach dinghy landing areas are in the east of the bay, where there is a small sandy channel through the coral, and alongside the floating jetty at the entrance to ‘Walking Street’. There is no access, though, at low tide.

Approaching from the west, there are some exposed rocks at low tide. Avoid anchoring too close to ferry buoys, which have now spread westwards, leaving increasingly less room for yachts.

Unfortunately, this bay has been taken hostage by large offshore rafts and jetties for the fast ferries and large speedboats that now bring hordes of tourists to the island.

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  • C
  • D

KOH LIPE NORTH

59 miles from Koh Lanta Lighthouse

KOH LIPE NORTH (C). 6°29.559N, 99°17.838E

(C) is now the preferred anchorage for Koh Lipe. Anchor in 7-10 metres on sand. The coral is easy to spot, as the water is very clear. With care the beaches are accessible at all states of tide but at low certainly head for the spot next to the beach bar where the longtails are parked. A short rocky path leads to a motorbike and sidecar taxis pick up point to town (or it’s a 10 minute easy walk).

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  • E

KOH BUTANG NORTH

56 miles from Koh Lanta Lighthouse

KOH BUTANG NORTH. 6°32.409N, 99°9.770E

Anchor west off the small islands in 8-12 metres with enough swinging room to avoid the fringing reef. This area is ideal for snorkelling and fishing; there are wild monkeys on the beach. Anchorage and moorings can also be found in 20 metres east of the islets, if the northeast ground swell wraps around the south of Koh Rawi.

Day anchorage and moorings can also be found around the islets of Koh Palai and Koh Sawang to the south of Koh Butang. This is generally considered the best snorkelling, diving and fishing in the group. The bottom rises sharply from depths of more than 25 metres around these southern islands and any day anchorage should be approached with caution.

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  • F

KOH RAWI SOUTHWEST

57 miles from Koh Lanta Lighthouse

KOH RAWI SOUTHWEST. 6°32.511N, 99°11.408E

Pick up a mooring or anchor in 5-10 metres on the sandy shelf east of the protruding reef bank opposite the beach. Keep well clear of the extending reef to the east on approach. The current is strong in this passage and care should be taken when snorkelling.

The National Park HQ is located to the east. Anchorage can be found near the HQ in 5-8 metres or further off in deeper water. Ashore there’s a freshwater creek and a 45-minute jungle trail leading to a year-round waterfall.

Near the beach is a black pipe where jerry cans can be filled with fresh water. Day anchorage and snorkelling can also be found in the middle of the bay on the other side of the isthmus in 10-14 metres.

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  • G
  • H

KOH BITSI WEST AND EAST

57 miles from Koh Lanta Lighthouse

KOH BITSI (G) 6°33.872N, 99°20.533E
(H) 6°51.131N, 99°20.996E

Northeast of Koh Adang is a small island with good holding close to shore on either the east or west coast depending on the season and ground swell. Good snorkelling and diving.

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Southeastern end of Koh Rawi
Day trippers on the southeastern end of Koh Rawi | Photo by Photo by Grenville Fordham

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While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.

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